You And Your Lawyer

by Sandy Bregman

Many years ago, before I was a lawyer, I was going through a divorce after fifteen years of marriage.  I had a four year old daughter and had just been diagnosed with a medical condition that could have been disabling.  I did not have the work skills to support myself and my daughter.  I was scared and vulnerable.

I was referred to a lawyer who I was told “never loses.”  This sounded good at the time, but today, with the experience I have, I know how little meaning that phrase really has.  There are so many issues addressed in a divorce that “win-lose” has no meaning.  Whether you come out ahead or behind on any given issue depends on many factors, some of which you have absolutely no control over. The same elements affect your spouse.  You won’t get everything you want, and neither will your spouse.  The law and community property determine a lot of issues, and no one comes out of a divorce as strong as when they began.

In spite of his glowing recommendation, I was uncomfortable with my lawyer from the very start.  In fact, I didn’t like him much at all.  He was arrogant, and not especially empathetic or understanding.  My life was only a business to him.   I didn’t like him, but I didn’t know anyone else.  I felt lost.

Because I’ve been through divorce from the other side, I know what kind of service I want to provide. I believe a good divorce lawyer listens to your story with interest, patience and understanding.  A lawyer must know your whole story to truly be your advocate, as there are many seemingly small details that can make a substantial difference in the divorce process.

And divorce is a process, often a lengthy one. It is not only legal but personal:  the death of one stage of life and the birth of another.  This is why Arizona law requires a minimum waiting period of at least 60 days from the service date of a Petition to the final divorce.  You must have time to mourn the loss before you can embrace your new life, and your lawyer should play a role in helping you.

Fortunately, I landed on my feet after my divorce, but it was hard. I was a single parent, going to school full time, and handling two to three jobs at a time.  I thought often about how helpful it would be to have a community for single parents, helping them get back on their feet and make a better life for themselves and their children.

That is my vision for this blog, to provide a community of support and empathy, experience and advice – a comfortable place to share your thoughts and fears about what is happening, and ask questions of those who have been through it already.  I welcome your thoughts and comments and I invite your questions. I will use my weekly blogs to answer your questions and address any other issues that I know to be of interest or importance.  I know there are many common concerns and fears out there, and I know I can help.

If you would like more personal legal advice, please call or email and I will be happy to provide you with the help you need.

In the meantime, take one day at a time, and may it be a good one.